Working in New York to studying in Bath – MSc in Sustainability and Management student Gillian Jacques


MSc in Sustainability and Management student, Gillian Jacques, on why she decided to quit working life in New York and relocate to Bath to do a master’s.

A sense of calm and community

I moved to Bath having never visited before. Coming from a place like New York, it’s fair to say that they are complete opposites. But I settled in quickly. I felt an immediate sense of calm and community here.

Bath’s city centre is small, but has everything you’ll need, from restaurants to shopping to culture. I enjoyed living in the midst of it all and being able to walk everywhere, including up to campus for classes. Bath has tons of cafés and potential study areas that make it really easy for postgraduate students to work off campus.

Although the course is intensive, there is plenty of free time to socialise and experience everything that Bath has to offer.

Deciding to do a master’s after working for several years

I had spent seven years working for various environmental non-profits in New York and was beginning to explore my next career move. As I began to search for a master’s course, I was drawn to the UK and Europe for their specialised degrees in sustainability. I was looking for the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture where I could learn from a diverse group of students, inside and outside the classroom.

I applied to the MSc in Sustainability and Management because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of sustainability issues and how they relate to the corporate world. I knew this course would be a powerful addition to my professional experience.

My MSc has given me the opportunity to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I developed skills and learned frameworks that will be beneficial in the workplace, whether that’s a non-profit, public or private company. As I transition back into professional life, I feel confident that I’ve been given the tools to help businesses think about how they can align their strategies with their environmental and social responsibilities.

An immersive and intense experience

The Sustainability and Management course has given me the solid business and management foundation that I was looking for. The added lens of sustainability and corporate social responsibility is what brings the degree to the next level; these are the issues society is facing right now. The year is immersive and intense and goes by quickly.

It wouldn’t have been the same without my amazing classmates. We were a small core group, which allowed us to get to know each other really well and build a support system that I definitely needed. The diversity of the class opened the door for interesting conversations and perspectives, and always a few laughs.

Working with Unilever and a local charity on the Practice Track

One of the reasons that I chose Bath was to do the Practice Track, a practical alternative to a traditional dissertation. My group had the privilege of working with Unilever, a company that is striving to change the way business is done by considering its environmental and social impact.

We also worked closely with a local charity, Bath FoodCycle, to fundraise and help build awareness of their cause: strengthening the community by bringing people together around a healthy meal made from surplus food. This was a wonderful opportunity to get out into the community and plan an event from start to finish. My group also consisted of students from other management courses, so we tapped into our individual strengths and collaborated on these projects – not unlike a real-world experience.

The added lens of sustainability and corporate social responsibility is what brings the degree to the next level“. Gillian Jacques MSc in Sustainability and Management

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